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3 hours ago | Tim Costello
Five field goals were booted in a game for the first time since the 1970 Grand Final, as Canberra secured a 15-14 win against the Sharks in a finals quality contest at Shark Park this afternoon.
The game provided finals quality intensity from start to finish, with big hits, big runs, end to end football, close scoreline, great tries, a swag of field goals and a win in golden point.
The scoring started in the 16th minute when the Sharks spread the ball right to Kurt Capewell, who quickly passed onto Ronaldo Mulitalo, and the young winger leapt for the corner and scored a great try in the corner. Kyle Flanagan failed to convert from touch.
Just four minutes later, the Sharks ran a short side play down the left, leading to Bronson Xerri making a break with little room to move, got ankle-tapped. As he was falling he managed to pass to Jayden Brailey backing up and he scored. Flanagan again failed to convert.
Josh Morris very nearly bagged a miraculous try in the 32nd minute, but the ball landed on the sideline in-goal.
With three minutes left in the half, the Sharks scored again, after Jarrod Croker rushed up out of the line to put a hit on Flanagan. The young Sharks half offloaded to Chad Townsend, who then spread the ball right to Josh Morris who drew the last defender before passing to Mulitalo and the winger strolls in for his second try. Flanagan again failed to convert from the sideline.
The Raiders began their comeback by scoring first in the second half. In the 49th minute Josh Hodgson took advantage of the Sharks right edge defence charging up too quickly, held up a nice ball for Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, who steamed into a gap and scored to the right of the posts. Croker converted from almost in front.
9 minutes later, the Raiders scored a brilliant length of the field try against the run of play. Croker fielded a grubber deep in his own in-goal, stepped through some scattered defence and ran 65 metres before being run down by Morris. From the next tackle, Canberra sent the ball right to Nick Cotric who scored an easy try. Croker converted to level the scores.
In the 66th minute Aidan Sezer calmly potted a field goal to give the Raiders the lead for the first time in the game. However just two minutes later Townsend replied with a casual field goal of his own.
Josh Hodgson missed a field goal with a poor attempt in the 75th minute. The Sharks responded perfectly when Townsend slotted his second despite plenty of defensive pressure on him, to get the lead back for his side with 3 minutes remaining.
The Raiders em,played a short kick-off which the Sharks knocked-on. From the next set Sezer potted another field goal to level the scores, which remained unchanged till full-time, taking the match to Golden Point.
The first 5 minutes saw neither side get the upper hand, but three minutes into the second half of Golden Point saw Sezer pot his third and the match winning field goal.
Next weekend the Sharks have a mouth-watering match-up with Wests Tigers at Leichhardt which looks likely to decide eighth place, while the Raiders are at home to the Warriors as the look to consolidate their top four finish.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 14 - Canberra Raiders 15
Venue: PointsBet Stadium
Halftime Score: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 12 Canberra Raiders 0
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Josh Morris
2 points - John Bateman
1 points - Aidan Sezer
CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS (14)
Tries: Ronaldo Mulitalo (2), Jayden Brailey
Field Goals: Chad Townsend (2/2)
Conversions: Kyle Flanagan (0/3)
CANBERRA RAIDERS (15)
Tries: Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Nick Cotric
Field Goals: Aidan Sezer (3/3), Josh Hodgson (0/2)
Conversions: Jarrod Croker (2/2)